17 years after the iPod was born, Podcasting has become a thing. I think of Podcasting as the new internet radio but with a built-in DVR. All it takes to hone in on the many tens of thousands of Podcasts is a device, an app, and some bandwidth. Instead of mindlessly watching hours of brain numbing television, we have options to tune into regularly broadcast audio and video programs that fit our interests.
How do your favorites stack up to mine?
- TWiT TV – Leo Laporte’s Podcast network, including MacBreak Weekly.
- Trash Video Podcast – I know, right? Crazy but very interesting for a New Yorker.
- The Nerdist – Chris Hardwick talks about stuff and interviews famous, well, nerds.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past couple of years I’ve added more Podcasts to my daily and weekly routine, all thanks to a growing variety of high quality audio and video Podcast applications. If you’re on the go, like free, and prefer just enough features but not too many, Overcast is a better choice than Apple’s own Podcast app.
Overcast is somewhat different than other Podcast apps. First, it’s very fast, sips battery life, and doesn’t suck up bandwidth– all thanks to a cloud server approach. Second, Overcast syncs between devices better than any Podcast app I’ve used. Third, because you set up an account, using Overcast on almost any device is easy because there is a webpage option.
The developer is Marco Arment and he’s been around the world wide web a few years, runs a few of his own Podcasts, helped to launch Tumblr, Instapaper, and The Magazine, among other notable projects.
Overcast, thanks to the advertising model, is free. The list of useful features is extensive but not imposing.
- Subscribe to a podcast, or just add an episode: try new shows without committing
- Download podcasts over cellular, set a sleep timer, or use Voice Boost to enhance and normalize speech volume
- Adjust playback speed, and use Smart Speed to pick up extra speed without distorting the conversation
- Download podcasts for playing anytime, even when offline.
- Search and browse for new podcasts, plus get recommendations from Twitter
- Create custom Playlists with smart filters and per-podcast priorities, and rearrange the list whenever you want
- Receive optional push notifications when new episodes arrive
You’ll also find 3D Touch support for iPhone models, rich notifications, an Apple Watch app, and, of course, CarPlay support. That’s plenty to like for free.
If you need more features than Apple’s Podcast app, and more than Overcast, next on my list is Downcast which has Mac and iOS versions, a Watch app, CarPlay support, and, considering all the extra features, a nominal price tag. You’ll find more selection on the iOS App Store than for Macs, but both Overcast and Downcast have Mac apps.
Isn’t it ironic that the iPod itself has become something of a footnote in technology history that lives on in the name Podcast?